08 March, 2013

Taking a Measure of Society's Maturity - Part Deux: Nearly Edible Crap

You would think that by the time we are old enough to own and operate a dishwasher of our own that we could distinguish between candies and blobs of soap; after all, the functioning of our society's systems - financial, political, transportation - are counting on at least that level of discernment.

Yet one need only look at the current trend in the dishwasher soap tablets field (didn't know that existed? CUT TO: bright room full of lab-coated scientists with glasses pretending to jot down notes on clipboards. Trust me, it exists.) to spot a blatant clue that those affluent enough to own and operate a machine to wash their dishes are also childish and gullible enough to fall under the spell of a shiny morsel of multi-coloured detergent as if it were a bon-bon in a glass jar at a confectioner's shop. Now, I realize that one needs to cut these marketeers a bit of slack. You try selling something that's about as sexy as a compost bag - you'll quickly find yourself lying awake at night, desperately scrolling through a mental Rolodex of dancing dogs, inane jingles, and ivory-toothed supermodels in vain attempts to conjure up an irresistible message. The more mundane, the more the pain - be it soap, toothpaste, toilet paper, it doesn't matter. One thing's for certain, though: the road to becoming a Walmart Greeter is littered with the ground up souls of ad execs looking for The Angle, that one special hook to catch the consumer prey right in their weak spot.

Exhibit A:
Found left on our doorstep - for sure a more socially-acceptable form of anonymous abandonment than, say, a flaming paper bag of dog poo, but still something that I had misgivings about bringing inside. Nevertheless, being that it was a Friday night, and that I was on my second glass of Beaujolais, I brought in these freakish cleanser pouches, holding their gaudily-coloured package out from my body the way one might carry a dead o'possum from one side of a road to another.

Any advantage? You be the judge.
All I know is that the runaway popularity of these convenient, no mess wads of stuff shows us they are popular. Then again, that's as telling as looking at a film's Box Office Totals to judge its quality.

According to news agency Reuters, the manufacturer, Proctor & Gamble, is quoted as boasting that it took "eight years of research, with 75 technical staff working on the project full-time, to come up with [these suckers]." Kinda makes it worth bending over, now doesn't it?

The trouble is, kids have been mistaking them for candy, and "the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) issued a warning last week that people should keep highly concentrated, single-dose packs of detergent high up and out of the reach of children... According to the AAPCC, some young children who swallowed the small packets required hospitalization."

This sort of nonsense is pervasive enough in this culture to, I think, qualify it as yet another sign of the impending Apocalypse. Overreaction on my part? Take a glance at your pet's food dish first and then get back to me. Time to take a deep breath and embrace your adulthood before you reach for your wallet, folks.

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